Hello and welcome to our Kickstarter!
We are raising money to support the re-mount of the award winning Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes From A Life and Other Works by John Bernd. These shows will be co-presented by Danspace Project and Gibney Dance for American Realness 2018 this coming January.
Last year I co-directed this piece with Miguel Gutierrez as a re-construction and re-imagining of the work of John Bernd. John was a young choreographer who was very active in the East Village scene of the 1980's. He was one of the first members of that community to be diagnosed with HIV. After a brief but incredibly prolific career, John succumbed to AIDS complications and died in 1988 at the age of 35.
Throughout his diagnosis, John created heartfelt, experimental work that combined choreography, improvisation, voice, originally written music and text, as well as projections of his drawings. He was a key figure in the rise of interdisciplinary work that dealt with identity and real life issues. As an ambitious young artist, he was determined to bring his work to audiences throughout the country and around the world.
Unfortunately, John's life was cut short before those ambitions were realized. A few years ago I found a 'zine that John's friends/caretakers assembled ten years after he died. This became the centerpiece of last year's Danspace Project Lost and Found, which I co-curated with Will Rawls. In this platform we looked at the impact of HIV/AIDS in the NYC dance and performance community, particularly with an eye on recuperating the stories of so many artists and communities whose names have been forgotten. Variations on Themes from Lost and Found was part of that platform.
Interested in moving beyond the idea of just re-constructing a single piece, and also led by the desire to address the breadth of John's work, Miguel and I took different sections from several of John's pieces and re-combined them to create a new piece whose authorship rests somewhere between John's and ours.
The piece was a huge success - we sold out all of our shows and just this past October were awarded with a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for Best Revived Work!
And now we have a chance to show the piece to even more people at the esteemed and renowned AMERICAN REALNESS festival. This festival is known for showcasing some of the most vital and exciting work being made today. We are thrilled to be able to revive this special piece, and we are very lucky that the performances are a co-production of Danspace Project and Gibney Dance Center. Our hope is that the presenters and producers who attend this festival will be inspired to bring John's work to many more audiences outside of New York.
However, we still have a shortfall in our budget. As I am sure you can appreciate, working with lots of collaborators means we have a lot of money to assemble. We have seven amazing dancer/performers - Toni Carlson, Talya Epstein, Alvaro Gonzalez, Charles Gowin, Madison Krekel, Johnnie Cruise Mercer and Alex Rodabaugh. We want to compensate them justly for their beautiful work throughout the rehearsal process and performances.
With your support we can make this possible! Please consider donating today! You'll see the list of rewards are very enticing!
And please come to the performances in January!
Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and Other Works by John Bernd
co-presented by Danspace Project and Gibney Dance Center for American Realness 2018
at Danspace Project/St. Mark's Church, 131 East 10th Street, NY, NY
Tuesday January 9, 8pm
Thursday January 11, 7pm
Friday January 12, 7pm
Saturday January 13, 3 and 7pm
For tickets click here
conceived by Ishmael Houston-Jones
co-constructed and co-directed by Miguel Gutierrez and Ishmael Houston-Jones using choreography from John Bernd's work 1981-1988.
performed by: Toni Carlson, Talya Epstein, Alvaro Gonzalez, Charles Gowin, Madison Krekel, Johnnie Cruise Mercer and Alex Rodabaugh
music by Nick Hallett, based on original compositions by John Bernd
consultation by Jennifer Monson
lighting design by Carol Mullins
cover image by Ian Douglas
Risks and challenges
Putting on shows in New York City is always exciting and challenging. As I said above, we are so lucky and grateful that Danspace Project and Gibney Dance Center are joining forces and resources to support the co-production of this work for American Realness 2018.
But it has been over a year since we did the show last... and we want to do right by John Bernd's work! So we need to spend a good chunk of time rehearsing to prepare for the performances in January. Luckily we will get to do the piece five times in a week, but this means that we want to pay the dancers well so that they can focus on this project during their hectic lives here.
There aren't any funding opportunities for this kind of re-mount, which is why are turning to you to help us put the last pieces of the puzzle together. We hope you will offer what you can to bring this beautiful piece back to life.
- (32 days)